Rangitopuni Residence - Creative Arch | ArchiPro

Rangitopuni Residence

Located 18km north-west of Auckland, Riverhead is a settlement experiencing somewhat of a renaissance with its permanent population doubling in recent years. Known for its nearby wineries and boutique breweries, it’s close proximity to Auckland’s CBD has made it a popular day-trip destination and commuter town.

This home, part of a new subdivision, was designed by architectural designer Mark McLeay and architect David Bullen-Smith of Creative Arch and sits on the bank of the Rangitopuni Stream, looking out over the water and native riparian bush.

“Despite the rather bucolic surroundings and greenfield site, there weren’t any covenants to abide by, so we pretty much had free rein to realise the client’s brief for a three bedroom home, encompassing open-plan living with a focus on the views across the stream, separate bedroom zone and an emphasis on multiple indoor/outdoor living options,” says Mark.

The solution presented itself as a single-story, slightly flared H-shaped floor plan around a central courtyard on the south-facing river frontage.

“Taking into account the proximity of existing and future neighbours, along with the need to get light into the south-facing courtyard, the design provides ample opportunity to capture views from various internal spaces and maximise natural light, while maintaining complete privacy between neighbours.

“The garage, kitchen, dining and living spaces are grouped within one arm of the H, with bedrooms, bathrooms and family room in the other. A home office is situated within the internal linking space between, looking out across the courtyard beyond. An expansive deck serves as an external linking element between the two arms.”

Towards the north, the house presents as staggered box forms, which sit low across the site and are stepped back and down from street level. The family room, with its adjoining patio, faces out to the road, taking advantage of northern light and providing an opportunity to connect with the neighbourhood.

Darkly stained board and batten cladding wraps around the home and is punctuated by black joinery, while vertical cedar shiplap weatherboards line the walls adjacent to the courtyard providing increased aesthetics and complement the polished concrete floors.

“There is a deliberate play between the contrast of materials with the design needing to incorporate a personal element belonging to the clients—antique port barrels made by the client's great-grandfather, which had been repurposed into floating shelves, an office desk and bathroom vanities.”

Movement between internal and external living spaces is seamless thanks to the flush joinery, making the transition between indoors and out effortless and increasing the opportunities for outdoor dwelling already ably provided for through multiple outdoor areas.

Heightened amenity was not only provided for in a tangible sense but also through the incorporation of natural elements that add to the overall liveability of the spaces.

“It’s a fairly small detail in the scheme of things but with the clients wanting a spacious courtyard area, it would have been easy to deck the entire space. However, by incorporating a small grassed area with feature tree between the house and the deck, it acts to soften the hardscaping and provides a restful detail for the eye to pause on.

“Similarly, another natural element, this time in the shape of a green wall, located outside the ensuite is accessed via bifold doors, creating the sense of bathing in the outdoors reinforcing the link between built and natural environments enjoyed elsewhere in the home.”

Words by Justin Foote
Photography by
Mark Scowen Photography

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